Hunting - for the roughly 0% of the readership not already aware of this - is the SL pastime of looking for freebie items concealed in a themed item somewhere in a participating merchant's store. The Steampunk-themed Steam Hunts have been going for a while now, under the organisational aegis of the Mayor of Mieville, Perryn Peterson, whose organisational aegis has proven to be a pretty darn good aegis to be under. The same organisation begat the Silk Road Hunts, themed around the historical trade routes between Europe and Asia; last year, when the Renaissance Hunt was introduced, the three were rolled together under the general Historical Hunts banner.
So far I've done Steam 3, 4 and 5, Silk Road 1 and 2, Renaissance Hunt 1, and a stack of non- or semi-related hunts large and small. And, consequently, my inventory is bursting at the seams. Well, never mind, one can never have too many shoes, right? Anyway, hunting, as a pastime, has much to commend it - especially, I think, to people new to SL. You get free stuff, some of it very nice (that black trouser suit with the embroidered waistcoat I was wearing a couple of posts ago? A favourite of mine, and a Steam Hunt 3 giftie from Ezura); you get to see a lot of new places on the grid, some of them spectacular (some of the Hunt merchants pride themselves on putting on a show for visitors); and you get to stretch those basic SL skills such as navigating with landmarks, moving your camera around to search for things, and complaining in group chat about how unfair it all is. And, of course, the merchants get publicity for their stores and their goods (and visitors inworld, which is important, what with the Marketplace sucking customers away from commercial sims). So, everyone's a winner, except possibly Perryn and his team, going prematurely grey from worrying over the organization of it all.
Anyway. Since I can legitimately claim to be something of a Hunt veteran by now, I'd offer some advice to beginning hunters, at the start of their career of glomming nice freebies from talented designers:-
- Travel light. Do the old script-tease, don't wear complicated outfits and lots of scripted stuff. You will be TPing around a lot of sims, some of them dealing with unusually high volumes of traffic, some of them stuffed to the gills with complex vendors and other heavily scripted items. Wearing bucketloads of resizable hair and recolourable shoes and whatnot will slow you down as well as everybody else. Keep it simple.
- Be patient. The reason why Perryn has all those grey hairs is because things never go quite according to plan; participating merchants can be scuppered by RL, or by the capricious whims of our Linden gods; there will be delays, and spots on the Hunt may need to be skipped entirely. When it happens, take a deep breath, stay calm, and carry on. The hunt's organisers and the inworld hunt groups will be able to tell you where to go next, which stores aren't ready yet, and so forth. In a similar vein -
- Be polite. I guess there are several headings under this one. Firstly, remember when you're visiting some place, you are a guest in someone's home, and should behave like a respectful guest. So, at the very least, respect the Community Standards, and check (and comply with) the specific rules of a sim. Next, if there is any sort of problem, try to make your response to it polite and constructive; bear in mind that, at the end of the day, these merchants are giving you free stuff that they have worked hard to create - complaining if it's not nice enough, or wasn't easy enough to find, is something of a faux pas, I feel. Finally, bear in mind that most of the fun of the Hunt is in the actual hunting - so don't blurt out the location of a hunt item in local or group chat! A few extra clues to the bewildered are always welcome, but don't give the game away.
- Take a break now and again. Really, concentration fatigue can set in, and you can reach a point where you can't spot the hunt item if it is ten feet tall and right in front of you. (This has literally happened to me on one occasion!) If you feel your attention flagging, go do something else for a while. Build, or chat, or dance, or even go and do some of that RL thing that some people apparently go for. Come back when you're feeling refreshed.
- Finally, at least think about looking round the shops and spending some money while you're hunting! While some of the merchants may be doing this just for love, they all need to pay their tier, and every sale helps. Make it worth their while to get into the Hunts, and we will all be happily hunting for many years to come.
And the well-dressed hunter, this season, is wearing this: